Thomas Nelson students have had great success recently regarding the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship program. The College has had at least a semifinalist each year since 2017.
Rebecca Holmes, a 2018 recipient of the undergraduate transfer scholarship, is doing her best to help the College continue its streak. She's headlining two Zoom seminars that will offer current students guidance on the application process.
“She approached the College and said as a former finalist she wanted to give back to the institution and help with the outreach,” said SaraLynn Goergen, a TRiO Student Support Services counselor at Thomas Nelson. “Having her participate in the outreach, I think, will make it much more effective. Students can see somebody does win this scholarship and (they) really can do it.”
Holmes already has an impressive resume. After graduating from Thomas Nelson in 2018 with an associate degree in social science, she transferred to the University of Colorado Boulder, where she earned a bachelor of arts in Geology and Environmental Studies earlier this year. She is working toward a master’s in Hydrologic Sciences and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines examining acid mine drainage in Southwestern Colorado.
“I became interested in outreach for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship because it has changed my life,” Holmes wrote in an email. “There are many opportunities I would never have received without the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation supporting my dreams.”
She was able to graduate from CU without any debt and she’s “a fully-funded graduate student” because of the foundation. The scholarship also helped her fund research and internship opportunities, during which time she developed a passion for hydrologic sciences.
“I would love to see more students from Thomas Nelson receive the same opportunities I have,” said Holmes. “I hope to help the students of Thomas Nelson learn about this scholarship and give them helpful tips to apply. I'm excited to share what I know, and I hope to be a resource for students interested in applying.”
The Zoom sessions are scheduled for Oct. 15 and Nov. 15 at noon on both days, each lasting about an hour. Goergen said the first 15-20 minutes will be a presentation from Holmes, with the remaining time for answering questions and discussing details. Thomas Nelson geology instructor Lynsey LeMay will discuss the faculty perspective since recommendations are a big part of the scholarship, said Goergen.
The undergraduate transfer scholarships (the foundation offers others) are worth up to $55,000 a year. More than 1,500 students at two-year institutions apply each year, with about 500 becoming semifinalists. Last year saw 72 finalists. Both numbers vary from year to year. The deadline for application is 11:59 p.m. Jan. 10, 2022. Semifinalists will be announced in February or March, with finalists being notified in April or May.
To be eligible for the next round of scholarships, students must graduate in time to transfer to a four-year institution for the fall 2022 semester. All current Thomas Nelson students can attend the Zoom sessions.
“If a new student sees this, they’re more than welcome to come to the session and prep themselves for what they will need to do to be ready if they aspire to the scholarship,” Goergen said.
In addition to academic excellence, students are judged on volunteer experience and research opportunities.
“Rebecca is going to talk about that because she did that,” Goergen said. “She did a summer research program, and she did volunteer work, and she was involved on campus. Those kinds of things are really important.”
Those interested may join the Zoom sessions at the following: